2007 marked Hillcrest’s Centennial. And our neighborhood celebrated throughout the year. In 1906 William Wesley Whitson purchased the 40-acre George Hill estate for $115,000 in what was then referred to as “University Heights.” The following year Whitson opened a sales office at Fifth & University to sell building lots. His sister-in-law, Laura Anderson who recommended that he buy the land, named the subdivision “Hillcrest.”
As one of San Diego’s oldest communities, Hillcrest has a rich history that should be shared. In 2005 a virtual museum was created which will continue to grow with the years. Better yet, it is freely accessible via the Internet 24/7. The impetus behind the Hillcrest History Guild (HHG) began three years earlier with the first edition of HillQuest. While researching the neighborhood almanac it was difficult to find photos and stories from our rich history. Realizing that as years pass these treasures will become even more elusive…the Hillcrest History Guild was founded by HillQuest publishers Nancy Moors and Ann Garwood.
The HHG is a place where you may enjoy old newspaper articles; timelines of Hillcrest, CityFest, Balboa Park, local architecture & the medical community and information about leaders who played significant roles in the foundation of our community. Visitors may also learn facts about neighborhood bridges, enjoy old postcards, animated photos and videos!
HillQuest will continue to maintain and add to the HHG’s virtual online museum. Won’t you please consider helping, too? San Diegans in possession of documents, photos or images relating to Hillcrest, past and present, are encouraged to contact The Guild. We’ll scan photos immediately and return them to you. The Hillcrest History Guild, a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation with tax exempt status, will provide a place of safekeeping for these artifacts as our eclectic community history continues to unfold with the creeping of time.
The past several years have been exciting for The Guild. The membership list is growing, and donors have begun making tax-deductible contributions to help preserve Hillcrest’s history. They were also been instrumental in launching efforts of the Hillcrest Clean T.E.A.M. The HHG embraced this group’s efforts and made it possible for them to outreach for grants and contributions. The San Diego Foundation awarded money to purchase a storage shed for tools, and County Supervisor Ron Roberts’ grant has made it possible to purchase supplies for the neighborhood. In the spring of 2007 the HHG received grant money on behalf of the University Heights Community Association for repairs to the Vermont Street pedestrian bridge. The History Guild was chosen by the San Diego Chapter of the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association to be the beneficiary of proceeds from their 2006 rodeo in Lakeside. In 2007 SD LGBT Pride donated $200 and in 2008 they wrote a check for $900 for a volunteer post-Pride weekend cleaning effort which was passed on to the Hillcrest Town Council.
Join the Hillcrest History Guild. Your contribution will be used for projects to preserve and protect our local history as well as support community-building events. Individuals may join for $10, businesses $25 and corporations $100. Please help.
Thanks to those who have made donations of money and have given or shared their family photos and memorabilia. Contact The Guild if you have something, too. Consider giving the HHG your old pictures of Hillcrest (or allow them to scan and return photos to you). Please help the Hillcrest History Guild collect and preserve the past for future generations. You may also reach them at (619) 260-1929 for more information on membership and/or volunteer opportunities.